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Crying Wolf (Life Sciences)
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Mick Harper
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I'm surprised that you are happy with 'approved scientific' methods per se. Each of these methods has well documented problems, including carbon dating.

Of course I accept approved scientific methods. And each will, as a matter of course, have 'well documented problems'. That's what 'scientific' means. But not all that claim the tag are telling the truth.

40 000BP seems relatively arbitrary to me -- the way I would see it, if you are going to accept dates beyond calibration (with dendrochronology or with corals or stalagmites or however), the further you go back, the less agreement on carbon levels using any of them) and 'approved' scientific is your only criteria, then it makes as much sense to accept the 75 000BP.

Look, I don't care what limit is used so long as the notion of 'a limit' is used reasonably. Personally I am prepared to accept 40,000 dates and (now) 75,000 on your say-so. As I pointed out, it won't make any practical difference because there are no bones older than 40,000 but younger than 75,000.

The question I would have is: why do you accept 'approved scientific'? I don't understand your reasoning: the approved scientific method for determining if the earth has a 'crust' is sounder science than any of these dating methods on offer -- yet you reject that and accept the dating. How are you distinguishing them?.

There is no link between whether the earth has a crust and dating techniques. I am perfectly happy with geological dating techniques. Nor do I object in principle to the earth having a crust. I have told you several times that my theories demand it. It ought to be younger than the bit underneath, according to me.

But I object on two grounds. We have no special reason for supposing that the 'crust' is one thing and 'the mantle' is another thing. Sure you can aggregate a whole bunch of things and call them 'the crust' but so what? Unless you can demonstrate that one bunch of geological strata are special and another lot are special in some other way, then you've got nothing at all except two academic artefacts.

So I doubt the existence of the two 'things'. But I specially object to people coming along, having named these two things with such confidence that everybody accepts they exist and thereupon creating a theory that has one of them roaring around, skating on top of the other one in order to create the world around us.

It's utterly preposterous and only exists (as a self-evident truth, no less!) because of the Earth Sciences' desperate need to replace God as the Prime Mover. There's not a lot in it but God is slightly the more likely.
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Grant



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Mick said:
We are not. In fact speaking for myself I have erected an entire Alternative Human History out of the fact that we cannot find human bones older than 40,000. Since we must have been somewhere, Applied Epistemology claims that there must be a systematic reason why we can't find the evidence. Find that and it all becomes increasingly obvious.


So where were we? I can't work out if you think we were:

- swimming in the sea
- living in Northern Canada
- swimming in the sea in Northern Canada (brrrrr)

Or is it that all previous remains were washed away by an inundation or destroyed by ice.

And who moved the bloody Nile?

My head hurts.
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Mick Harper
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or destroyed by ice.

Question 1:
What, in your considered opinion, happens to smallish near-surface objects when they are covered by thousands of feet of glacial ice?
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Grant



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Question 1:
What, in your considered opinion, happens to smallish near-surface objects when they are covered by thousands of feet of glacial ice?


Answer: they get ground to dust.
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Mick Harper
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So, we have a putative mechanism for 'disappearing' fossil evidence.

Question 2
What two factors are required to 'systematise the disappearance'?
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Grant



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Question 2
What two factors are required to 'systematise the disappearance'?


- a dating method which is very unreliable before 40,000 years BP

- a theory which said that we evolved in a part of world which wasn't under ice
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Mick Harper
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Wrong and wrong.

You need to come up with a situation that
a) creates fossils and then
b) disappears fossils
and, remember, disappears all the fossils.
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Claire



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I've just been thinking about an earlier post of Mick's.

Multi-regionalists are the people that really need to be taken out and shot without further discussion. The idea that 'a species' or even a subspecies can arise in several different places is so laughable that only liberals trying to piece together a pre-history that is profoundly a-liberal would ever dream it up.

Though of course if they would like to address Darwinism first and show us how genes might sympathetically change in many different centres at the same time ( à la morphic resonance) then they might still be of some use.

Yes. The central problem is that we have anatomically distinct modern humans everywhere but also anatomically distinct other local hominids -- you don't get Neanderthals in Australia for example.

Where did these other hominids come from? Either they all originated in one place, a group of outward-looking touristy hominids (from Africa or wherever) who arrived in all corners of the planet but who then stopped travelling about the place just long enough to evolve quite differently (and rapidly) in splendid isolation to suit local environments, although inexplicably, not managing to adapt to the local habitat quite well enough to be able to outcompete the next wave of modern humans from somewhere else. (Africa being the somewhere else of course).

Or they originated in one place and spread out globally later to evolve locally toward modern man -- the parallel evolution part -- la Wolpoff being explained by more global interaction perhaps? (He would point to the transitional fossil record of course.) Neither is ever so intuitive.

How would you have it?
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Grant



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Question 2
What two factors are required to 'systematise the disappearance'?


Second try:

- modern man evolves in the north

- glaciation destroys the evidence

But what timeframe? The last ice age started about 100,000 years ago and ended about 11,000 years ago. But there were warm periods during the ice age when the ice retreated. There were also sudden freezing events when it got much colder.

Do you think we evolved in the north during a warm period and then had to leave when the ice came back about 30 to 40 thousand years ago?
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Mick Harper
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You can forget the later stuff because we know that human fossils were not being destroyed then.

Since you've got one factor -- glaciation destroying the evidence -- all you've got to do now is to account for this glaciation factor being able to destroy all the evidence up until the moment when they ceased being destroyed.

But just in case you think I am not playing fair you are permitted one 'special plead', that is humans are allowed to change their behaviour once to account for the one-time change from having their fossils destroyed to having their fossils not being destroyed.
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Claire



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Yes, please do. This is the Israeli site c 100,000 and we can use it as a test case here. I predict that it will turn out to be truly, madly bogus.

The Out of Africa theory really does rely on the genetics in my opinion, because it comes up against the fossil evidence in Asia and Australia, where there is more of a transitional fossil record. It does best fossil wise in Europe, where Cro-Magnon Man does the decent thing for Out of Africists and seems to appear just when Neanderthal Man disappears, hence displacing him.

The evidence in Israel, in Mount Carmel is truly madly... something. (So please do elaborate on what it means.....)

Here you have a set of caves with Neanderthal remains close to (maximum distance a day's walk, and some sites closer) a set of caves with Modern Human remains. The remains of the Neanderthals are at Kebara and date from 60 000 BP. The remains of the Modern Humans are at Qafzeh are date from 100 000BP.

Both sets of sites have continuous occupation for thousands of years. [My information on this isn't up to date btw! -- this might be more useful: http://bmsap.revues.org/document511.html]
But as I recall it the dating was decided as follows:

1) Microfauna: Dating (relatively) by identifying the bones of rats (in the caves in contemporaneous layers with the human remains) eaten by owls. It is assumed that owls hunt locally, and that rodent species in any given area change over time in line with climate and can therefore be plotted against known climate periods. According to this, the Moderns were 100 000BP. But the problem was that the relative dating of these bones put the Neanderthals' sites at a later period, and were therefore considered unreliable until other more absolute dating methods were employed.

2) TL (Thermoluminescence): Dating the flint tools at both sites. This works (I'm not good at this stuff) because electrons are shoved out of place by normal radioactive elements somehow fecking around with them (I'm hazy on that point). The electrons then return 'home', but some (at a constant rate!) mess up and get trapped. By heating the sample, the electrons will be freed at which point they release energy in the form of light '' the intensity of light released therefore measures the amount of electrons 'trapped' and therefore the amount of time that has passed. It's used for dating pottery -- and can be used to date when flint was worked. These dates produced 90 000ishBP for the moderns and 60 000BP for the Neanderthals.

3) ESR (Electron Spin Resonance) I'm sure anyone reading this can correct me -- but my understanding is this is pretty much as above, but rather than measuring the release of energy in the form of light, the actual number of trapped electrons is measured (somehow) -- by messing with a sample's magnetic field. (I'm hazy on this point too). This method was used on mammal teeth in the caves, and dated the Moderns at 100 000BP and 60 000BP again for the Neanderthals.

From what I've read, the tools used at the cave sites don't provide much of a clue to differences between the populations. Neither does diet, both types seemingly making use of the same (local) food sources. Not much in the way of beads or paintings (or anything like that) to distinguish them. Therefore the differences rely on the morphology of the bones. [But even here there are problems, apparently the oldest samples of the Neanderthals looking less 'Neanderthalish' than the later ones]

The site is a problem for both the Out of Africa and Multi-Regional theories really because there is no sign of obvious replacement in the sense they were contemporary for thousands of years and the Moderns there first, and no sign of transition from Neanderthal to Modern because again the chronology is wrong.

In terms of dating however, we do appear to have Moderns dated, apparently to the approval of scientists, to beyond 40 000BP.
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Mick Harper
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OK, let's see how this (absolutely critical) site is dated.

It is assumed that owls hunt locally, and that rodent species in any given area change over time in line with climate and can therefore be plotted against known climate periods. According to this, the Moderns were 100 000BP

I cannot begin to say how laughable this is. But the idea that we know sufficient about local climate to plot rodent species and then to 'know' that this local micro-climate occurred just once, at 100,000 years is...well, I thought I was inured to their bare-facery, but clearly not. The overall significance of this (and one wonders why it is still cited given the 'scientific' evidence) is that presumably it was the first dating and therefore everything else was 'fitted in'.

I leave others to discuss the more technical methods. However just to get the show on the road I ought to say that in all my long years I've never known either stone tools or "mammal teeth" to be used in this manner and to this accuracy. If Clare is reporting accurately clearly there should be no further debates about the dating of any palaeo-anthropological evidence. 'Sfunny I never heard...
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Mick Harper
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In terms of dating however, we do appear to have Moderns dated, apparently to the approval of scientists, to beyond 40 000BP.

In view of the importance of this and not wishing to move the goalposts too far, can we have any and all 'scientific' dating of Modern Humans between 40,000 and 100,000.
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Claire



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As I warned you though, I'm not up to date on this stuff.

I've just had a look at couple of web pages and it seems that some even earlier dates have now been obtained, up to 200 000BP. All the focus however seems (from a quick look) to be on arguing that either that:
1) The Neanderthals site is older than previously thought, making them there first (as we would have anticipated in the first place)
2) That the Moderns weren't really Moderns but a more archaic type
3) That the two populations were never there at the same time
(some sort of timeshare operation having ensured that they never met)

The ones I looked at were here:
http://karmak.org/archive/2003/01/westasia.htm
http://bcrfj.revues.org/document3272.html
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Claire



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Just to add: far be it from me to accuse anyone from being disingenuous, but I got the dates from books I happen to have, and you have to work quite hard to find what the dating techniques were actually applied to. You might assume, from a casual read, that the (human or hominid) bones themselves were being dated.

[Also that there are many more qualified people here than me to describe how the dating methods work -- my understanding of them may not be helpful...]
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